Thanks to Suzy Snooze we know all about the importance of establishing routines for our kids that help them form good habits. But those ideas don’t just apply to sleep. They apply to almost everything! That’s why, after struggling for ages to get our kids to brush their teeth properly and then hearing from mums and dads all over the place that they struggle too - we decided to help!
Start teaching your kids to brush their own teeth properly when they’re toddling and, by the time they’re 6 or 8 years old and brushing all on their own, they’ll have the routine and their technique down for life!
How often should I brush my toddler's teeth?
Encourage your kids to brush for two minutes, twice a day. When the time is right, slot teeth brushing into their usual morning and bedtime routines like it’s no biggie. Just, y’know, casually hanging out in the bathroom together having a nice time brushing our teeth…
How do I make sure their teeth are definitely clean?
Yep, sticking to the 2 minute brushing rule is tricky - especially when you know all too well your toddler can perform an energetic dance routine, stage a sit-in protest against socks and fall asleep in that time. Don't worry. When they're little, you just want them to get used to holding their toothbrush, to get used to the taste of toothpaste and to get a hang of the brushing actions. You’ll still be brushing for them to make sure their mouths are properly clean.
How do I know I'm teaching them to brush properly?
You've been brushing your teeth so long you probably don't even think about what you're doing anymore, right? Well, to kickstart good habits for your kids, follow this brushing pattern:
- Think of the mouth in four quadrants: top right, top left, bottom right and bottom left. Clean one quadrant at a time and paying attention to every surface of each tooth. Each has three surfaces. Make sure you don't miss any!
- Let's clean the top right quadrant first. With a wide open mouth, start cleaning from the back. Work forward, brushing all the surfaces of each tooth in small, circular motions - first the outside surface, then the inside surface, then the chewing surface. Hold the brush at a 45 degree angle to make sure you’re cleaning around the gum line and in between teeth too. Repeat for all four quadrants. Easy!
- Harmful bacteria gathers in other parts of the mouth too - not just around teeth. Remember to clean the sides of the mouth, the roof of your mouth and your tongue too. You'll probably need to wait til your kids are older before you can get them to pay attention to other parts of their mouths, but don't forget to remind them later.